“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Making Noise for the New Year

Atty Ceferino Baquilod

SINCE time immemorial, Filipinos have always welcomed the new year with a variety of noises. From firecrackers to fireworks, from blowing whistles and paper trumpets to banging pans, and dragging empty cans, all these and more are what we see and experience everytime new year comes. The reason for the noise, we are told, is to ward off evil spirits. It is believed that the more noise we make, the less bad luck we get for the new year.

Since noise drives away evil spirits, we must make noise not just at the onset of the new year but all year round. This is specially true because evil is so pervasive in our country these days. We see a lot of evil deeds, too many killings, too many illegal drug victims and too many corrupt officials who were supposedly the best and the brightest. Even presidential jokes have become too evil. Among the latest of these jokes being Duterte’s detailed narrative on how he fingered their maidservant when he was younger.

            Making noise is standing up for what is right and making sure one’s  voice is heard. It is raising concerns and informing the public of what needs  to be addressed for the good of everyone. We should make noise whenever our rights are trampled upon. We should make noise when our faith or the very core of what we believe in is under attack. We should complain when we are wronged. We have the right to ask questions and be enlightened when things get dubious or convoluted. We have the right to know the truth.

New Year’s Resolution

            Part of our New Year tradition is making new year’s resolutions. Let us include making noise in our new year’s resolutions. If everyone of us will raise our voice and complain to the proper authorities whenever we are violated or when we see wrong or injustice being committed, maybe less evil will be in our midst. Specifically, we should make noise and report when we become aware of anomalies or corruption occurring in government offices. No less than our president is encouraging us to report corruption whenever we know of any. He has repeatedly stated that he is against corruption and he has promised to purge our government of corrupt officials. I know, some of us might have serious doubts in our minds regarding this, especially because many of this administration’s officials are involved in corruption. Be that as it may, we still should make noise. As a matter of fact, we should make our noise louder.  We should utilize whatever is available to us legally. We should call the president’s hotline, 8888, the number dedicated to ‘complaints against fixers, scalawag officials and poor government services’.

            Social media is a potent platform where we can make a lot of noise. Of course we are aware of paid trolls hired purposely to invent and disseminate fake news. But with more reason that we should come together and fight these rumor mongerers and purveyors of fake news. If we remain quite, uninvolved and indifferent, these fake news and lies eventually appear as though they are true. Consequently, people believe in them and are misled and misguided.  Our inaction emboldens and encourages these misinformers to spread more fake news.

The Reality of Making Noise

            Despite the notion that a lot of our complaints are generally unwelcome, unattended or  worse result only in adverse consequences to complainants, we should remain patient and persistent. As they say, patience is a virtue and persistence pays. To be fair, there are complaints that are addressed properly and immediately. Others however end up high up in the air and may remain there forever unless ‘luck’ comes around and blows them to the right direction.  It is a fact that in this administration, a lot of those who made noise against blatant legal infractions like extra judicial killings and corruption were effectively silenced by false prosecution, incarceration and ‘neutralization’.  The latter is more often applied to small time drug users, pushers, etc, who need to be silenced and not make noise regarding their suppliers and coddlers. The big fishes have remained uncaught and they continue to do business as usual. Hence, drug proliferation has pervaded and  worsened. Arguably, one of the most effective and threatening noisemakers is the Catholic church. Priests have used the pulpit in preaching to churchgoers basic tenets of right and wrong, specially as they relate to scripture. Some have used main stream and social media to clarify facts or inform the public of what is real, specially in the light of all the misinformation campaigns from sectors attempting to advance falsities and half truths to justify their conduct or behaviour. It is therfore easy to understand why the Catholic Church and priests have become main targets of demolition jobs.

            The unceasing attack and mockery of the Catholic Church by the President is unprecedented. But this should not dampen our resolve, as Catholics and Christians, to bring to front or uncover the truth. To do otherwise would be to allow lies and falsehoods to prevail. As believers of Jesus, we need to stand up and make noise and be heard of how we feel about the atrocities being hurled against our faith.

            Despite all these blasphemies and degradations, there are those of us who firmly believe that one day, in His time, God will reign supreme in the hearts of everyone including the antiChrist, and things will be better for all of us.

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